InstantPot - Need help with the saute option

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Joined Aug 22, 2018
In hopes of spending less money on food each month from going to restaurants, my family and I are trying to cook at home more often. Since I do not enjoy cooking because it requires more time than I have, I purchased an instant pot so I could multi-task while the pot was building pressure, cooking, and releasing. This has worked out wonderful for me. I've now found a recipe that is easy for me to make but also delicious.

Right now, I have been sticking with the dump and start recipes so I don't become overwhelmed. But, during my search, I've noticed many recipes requiring you to use the saute option first. I gave it try once and things didn't turn out so well because I have no idea where to start, what to do, what not to do, etc... The one thing I know is to not use the lid during the saute process :)

I have a few questions:

1) If the recipe calls for oil to be added, should I add that before or after the pot is hot?
2) What do I do if oil starts to splatter?
3) How do I know how long to saute an ingredient for? I had to saute garlic and I think I burnt it :(
4) After the saute process, do I have to deglaze before cooking, even if the recipes doesn't tell you to deglaze?
5) Do I leave the oil in the pot after sauteing or keep it in the pot if the recipe calls for sauteing first?

If you have any other tips, I would greatly appreciate it!
I've been avoiding generally easy recipes that require sauteing first because I feel intimidated by the process.
 
2,403
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Joined Oct 9, 2008
If you have a nonstick skillet, you may find it easier to saute that way and then dump the results into the pot. Certainly it's less intimidating if you can really see what you're doing and control the heat directly.

Your questions:

1. Normally you heat the pan, add oil, then add ingredients. It's quicker, and if there is any trace liquid in the pan, the oil won't spit.

2. Lean out of the way. But seriously: a little spatter is normal. If it's a huge amount, there's something else going on.

3. Usually you're sauteeing to intensify flavor and to dry the ingredients a bit; sometimes, as with rice dishes, you're trying to get the rice evenly coated with the oil. How long depends on heat, ingredient, and everything else. Most ingredients can tolerate a little scorching, so don't worry. However... garlic is an exception, as it turns bitter very quickly. I suggest that there are very few cases where it will change anything if you haven't sauteed the garlic before braising (which is basically what the pots do). So I would suggest that you just don't put in the garlic until you're about to put in liquid and turn on the machine. Otherwise, saute until it smells nice, the colors get bright, and it doesn't look all wet and raw any more.

4. If there's brown stuff stuck to the bottom, then you want to loosen that up by deglazing. Otherwise it may burn. If the bottom of the pan is clean, there's no glaze to de-, if you see what I mean.

5. I don't understand the question. If you saute in the pot, how would you remove the oil? If you saute in a pan, which I think you'll find easier, then if there's excess fat, certainly try to pour it off, as it'll just make the dish fattier. But I feel like I'm not grasping quite what you're asking.
 
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Joined Aug 22, 2018
5. I don't understand the question. If you saute in the pot, how would you remove the oil? If you saute in a pan, which I think you'll find easier, then if there's excess fat, certainly try to pour it off, as it'll just make the dish fattier. But I feel like I'm not grasping quite what you're asking.

Oh, I just realized I didn't word that question correctly!
Do I keep the oil in the pan/pot or do I have to drain the oil after sauteing but before putting the rest of the ingredients into the pot?

Thank you so much! I like I actually like the idea of using a pot to saute, since my biggest concern is making sure I don't end up with a "burn" error message on the IP.

1. Normally you heat the pan, add oil, then add ingredients. It's quicker, and if there is any trace liquid in the pan, the oil won't spit.
What are trace liquids? Should I be adding any with the oil or is that not necessary?
 
2,403
410
Joined Oct 9, 2008
On the second point: very often a dry pan isn't really as dry as you think. If you heat it with oil in the pan, the little bits of moisture will spit in the oil. If you heat the pan first and then add the oil, this won't happen. So it's a good habit to heat the pan, then add oil, then add ingredients.

As to the other point, sauteeing only needs maybe a tablespoon or so of oil, and often less. So once the ingredients are ready, there shouldn't be any extra oil hanging around to get rid of.

Does that help?
 

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